NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week is an annual event held in Australia to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is important, as educators, that we spend the time talking about this week and discussing the real facts about Indigenous cultures and histories.
The theme for NAIDOC week 2019 is Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future.
Out of respect for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we encourage you to make connections and seek guidance, permission and inside knowledge from the Indigenous peoples in your local community.
Activities for NAIDOC Week 2019 in the Classroom
Most of us will be on school holidays for NAIDOC week. It is still vital that we spend time discussing the importance of this event in Australian culture.
(1) Watch Thought Provoking Videos
The videos below have been created as part of the NAIDOC week campaign for 2019. In this collection of videos, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples talk about their families, what inspired them to begin painting, as well as discussions about this year’s NAIDOC theme.
Salu hails from Moa Island north of Torres Strait. Listen in on her thoughts for this year’s NAIDOC theme.
Listen to Shara Delaney talk about what inspired her to become an artist.
After watching these videos, have a class discussion about the important points discussed in each video.
(2) Explore Vocabulary (Voice, Treaty and Truth)
Using our Mind Map Graphic Organiser template, encourage your students to write a keyword in the middle oval and four main points about that word in the outer ovals.
Here are some suggestions:
- Write down a definition of the word.
- Brainstorm some synonyms for the word.
- Write down the significance of this word in the 2019 NAIDOC Week theme title.
- Draw a picture that represents the meaning of this word to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(3) Explore NAIDOC Week with a Flip Book
We’ve created this NAIDOC Week Flip Book to help you explore NAIDOC week with your students in an interactive way. With this resource, students create a flip book and answer the following questions:
- What is NAIDOC Week?
- Why do we celebrate NAIDOC Week?
- What is the theme for this years NAIDOC Week?
- How can we celebrate NAIDOC Week?
- Who are some famous Indigenous people?
(4) Discover the Symbolism of the Flags
Discuss the following questions with your students:
- Who designed each flag?
- When were the flags designed?
- What do the colours and symbols represent?
After this, students can complete a flag collage craft activity.
(5) Read Children’s Storybooks
There are many children’s storybooks that explore the culture and history of Indigenous peoples in a child-friendly way.
You and Me Murrawee is one of our favourites!
Written by Kerri Hashmi and illustrated by Felicity Marshall. This beautifully illustrated story observes a young girl who camps by the river with her family.
Through her eyes, we see life as it would have been two hundred years ago.
(6) Explore Famous Indigenous Peoples
Each year, during NAIDOC week, the NAIDOC Awards are held to recognise the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in their communities and beyond.
As a class, explore the NAIDOC winner profiles of previous years. Get your students to create a fact file about a chosen winner.
Alternatively, check out our Significant Aboriginal People in Australia Fact Sheets.
(7) Discover the History of Aboriginal Art
Explore the history of Aboriginal art in Australia and the variety of techniques used in different artworks.
Our Introduction to Aboriginal Art unit consists of 9 lessons including:
- An Introduction to Aboriginal Art
- Rock Art
- Sand Drawings
- Bark Paintings
- Body Painting
- Wandjina Artworks
- X-Ray Art
- Dot Painting
(8) Create a Hand Tree Display
After exploring the history and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, use our hand template to create a classroom display.
- Provide students with a hand template or get them to trace their own hand.
- Students decorate their hand with colours and pictures that represent the history and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Once complete, decide how you will display the hands – I like the idea of using the hands to create a tree display.
Let’s grow and work together for a shared future.
(9) Create a Class Acknowledgment of Country
Participating in an Acknowledgement of Country is an effective way of helping students develop awareness and respect for the ongoing relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (the traditional custodians) have with their land. The practice can be done by anyone, at any time.
This video from Reconciliation Australia beautifully illustrates how and why you and your students can create a unique Acknowledgement of Country. The words and actions you and your students share can reflect the age of participants, the lands on which you stand and the feelings you all wish to acknowledge. It is definitely worth taking the time to view this video if creating your own Acknowledgement of Country is of interest to you!
The simple wording on this Acknowledgement of Country poster can be recited by students each day, and by staff and community members at meetings and events as a way of acknowledging that their activities are taking place on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land.